Your children are you most precious cargo. Car seat safety is something I take seriously…and you should too. As a mom of three I’ve been around the block when it comes to car seats. I’ve tested out and installed more than I can even count! Today I want to share a few of the tips I’ve learned along the way!
1. Read your car’s owner’s manual carefully before going car seat shopping. All car seats can be installed in your car using either the seat belt or the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children). All cars are equipped with LATCH, however, there might not be any in the middle or third row seats. So read that manual!
2. Make sure you choose the correct seat for your child’s age, weight, and height. From birth to at least 2 years old children must be rear facing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ride in rear facing seats as long as possible. It is the safest position for your child, even if they look a little uncomfortable! From ages 2-5 (approximately) children can forward face in a car seat with a five point harness. For ages 5 and up (and 50 pounds and 4’9″) children can ride in a booster seat.
3. Test them out! A lot of stores have car seats on display where you can actually sit you child in the seat to see how they fit before you buy.
4. Do your research. Check out consumer reports and other resources to learn all about car seat safety ratings. Keeping your child safe in the car is your number one priority.
5. Pick a seat that your child can use for a long time. We recently purchased the Graco 4Ever car seat for Sadie and it’s a 4-in-1 seat that fits children 4-120 pounds! It works as a rear-facing infant seat, convertible seat for a toddler, high back booster, and finally a booster seat. We currently own six different car seats (that’s what you get when you have 3 kids and 2 cars!)….and this seat is the only one that Sadie could use from birth until she’s ready to ride in the car with out a car seat. Isn’t that cool? More info on this amazing seat below!
6. Consider all of the harness and buckles on the seat. Something that I love about the Graco 4Ever is that you can easily adjust the headrest and belt height, without removing the seat. We have one car seat that you have to remove entirely each time you need to adjust the height of the straps…such a pain! On the Graco 4Ever the top of the seat has a position adjust harness, which helps guarantee that the straps are at the correct height for your child.
7. Make installation easy. There should be clear instructions on the seat itself and in the instruction manual. We took our car seats on a trip to California once and totally forgot to bring the manuals. It was really helpful that the instructions were printed on the seat. Choose a seat that explains installation with a diagram as well as text. I guarantee you will be installing seats a lot….and no matter how many times you do it, you will forget something. So clear and easy to follow instructions are a must!
8. Choose a seat that is easy to clean. Trust me on this one. Kids make a mess. They get sick in the car. They have blow-outs. Pick a seat that has an easy to remove and washable cover.
9. Consider how your family will grow. Will you need to line your back seat with three car seats? Do you have a van? Are you able to reach each car seat to be able to adjust the straps and properly secure your child? These are all questions you need to ask yourself and talk it through with your spouse. We ended up buying a van when I found out I was expecting baby number three. Our oldest, Hudson, would be 4 and a half when the baby was born and would still need assistance getting in and out of a car seat….so we carefully planned where each child would sit so that I could reach each of them.
We purchased our Graco 4Ever car seat at Walmart.com and it was delivered to our house in two days! I really wish I would have just purchased this seat for each of our kids from day one. I love how it grows with your child. Each of Graco’s car seats are rigorously tested to meet or exceed US safety standards. They provide a safe ride for your child from infancy to youth. Graco makes quality car seats that are affordable, and has a great line of seats to choose from, all available at Walmart!
Check out the video I put together detailing our experience with the Graco 4Ever!